Saturday was the big winter storm of the season. Saturday was also the big year-end party among a set of our friends. This year, our friends hosting the big party live about 90 mins away up north. Knowing that we would be spending the afternoon and evening, while the winter storm would be generating heavy snow, we prepared to stay overnight — extra clothes, sleeping bags, extra pillows, portable crib, etc.
Around 10pm, everyone came to the mutual conclusion that the local roads weren’t too bad, and we would all attempt to drive home. We all started on our respective journeys. Initially, it wasn’t bad. See, in storms like this, I’ve found that while the local roads can be messy, you’re pretty much good to go once you make it to the highway. Since the street seemed doable, it shouldn’t be a big deal. Besides, we also have an SUV with 4×4.
This winter storm threw all of my notions out the window. While we made it to I-280 in decent shape, the highways were a mess as the snow continued to fall heavily. I-280 was a complete mess, and slow going. At one point at the top of a rise, we reached a mass of a cars with hazard lights blinking, and one turned sideways. Many cars on the road that night were on the sides of the road much like this car, completely lost traction, and unable to manuever. Seeing an older sportcar without traction wasn’t surprising.
What was surprising is that we also lost complete traction at that point. 4×4, my butt– we couldn’t move sitting in the middle of a major highway. We started moving diagonally, which already freaked me out as I was already nervous driving like this. Then, other drivers started passing us on both sides, including a bus! If you saw a large SUV sliding diagonally on a highway, why would you think it was a good idea to try to pass on either side? Lots of people did it. As a matter of fact, as we continued on the I-280, the Garden State Pkwy, and the Turnpike, we watching many drivers speeding right through the heavy snow towards their respective destinations. It was absolutely insane.
We even missed our turn on to get on the NJ Turnpike from the GS Parkway, because huge snowdrifts separated the highway and exit lanes. I would have tried to plow threw the snowdrift, but we had seen other cars stranded on those same snowdrifts. It just wasn’t worth the risk. We ended up driving for a long while out of our way down the Parkway, and then making the U-turn at the next exit.
We eventually made it home around 1:30am. Can you imagine that? 3 hours to get home. Next time, I will never attempt such a foolhardy stunt again. Next time, we just sleep over at that person’s house, or we don’t go at all. As we drove sideways on a highway, or as we watched car after car stranded on the side of the road, or the multiple accidents, it’s all I could think about.